Sulu ‘sultan’ still staking claim over Sabah

KOTA KINABALU, Malaysia (The Star/ANN) - Phugdalon Kiram II was installed as the 35th “sultan” of Sulu and North Borneo recently.

The self-styled Sulu sultanate is maintaining its claim over Sabah with the newly- installed “sultan” Phugalon Kiram II pushing for a conference to resolve the issue.

The sultanate’s spokesman Abraham Idjirani said they would be pursuing a peaceful resolution of their claim.

“The sultan’s concern is to find a resolution to this long-standing dispute and the way forward is an international conference on the matter,” he told The Star in a telephone interview from Manila on Wednesday (February 10).

He said the conference should seek to address the sultanate’s sovereignty and proprietary issues over Sabah.

He said that besides officials from the sultanate, the Philippines and Malaysia, the conference should include representatives of the natives of Sabah who were among the main stakeholders of the matter.

He said the sultanate had written to the Malaysian government for such a conference, but had not received any official response as yet.

Phugdalon Kiram II was installed as the 35th “sultan” of Sulu and North Borneo on February 6.

The “sultan” who was known as Datuk Phugdal adopted the name of his great grandfather Sultan Phugdalon to thwart other claimants to the Sulu sultanate lineage.

His brother Raja Muda Agbimuddin Kiram had led some 200 gunmen of the Royal Sulu Army in the occupation of Kg Tanduo in Lahad Datu on Feb 12, 2013 before Malaysian security forces moved in to flush them out.

He fled to the Philippines in early April 2013 and died months later in Tawi Tawi.

Some 60 people, including nine Malaysian security personnel, were killed in the operations against the gunmen.

Another 30 people, including the son of Phugdal’s brother, Esmail Kiram – Datu Amir Bahar Husin Kiram – were detained and were subsequently charged with various offences, including waging war against the king.

Their trial is currently under way.

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